Four Executive Functioning Tips For Adults Living With Autism

One of the most frustrating and difficult symptoms experienced by many adults living with autism is executive functioning disorder or an inability to efficiently carry out the day-to-day tasks necessary for independent life. This may be as simple as putting away dishes once you are done with dinner or as important as forgetting to pay your car insurance or mortgage, but all of them can cause your quality of life to suffer. Along with the help of a professional autism counselor, these four executive functioning tips can keep you on task and ahead of your responsibilities. 

Creating To-Do Lists

Lists are particularly popular among autistic individuals, since they provide an easy hierarchy of chores and other work to keep you motivated and organized. You may want to keep several lists around the house, such as a cleaning checklist for the kitchen or all of the bills that need to be paid each month. Temporary to-do lists can also help you navigate one-time events, such as attending a wedding or funeral. It may take some time to adjust to using lists, but many who do find that their functioning increases substantially. 

Checking Instructions Before Finishing a Task

Executive functioning is responsible for your ability to hold information in your mind as you move on to the next step. A mechanic, for example, must remember where every nut and bolt goes even while the rest of the engine is being taken apart. An autistic individual may have incredible memory retention, but he or she could also end up with a few leftover pieces and no idea where they should go. Because of this, it is often worth your time to double check instructions before you finish any project or form, avoiding costly mistakes before they need to be fixed. 

Setting Alarms for Important Times

This difficulty with mindfulness can also cause autistic people to miss important events because they were briefly distracted and lost track of time. While a missed barbecue may be forgiven, forgetting to take medications or show up for work one day can have more serious consequences. Many phones today are now equipped with alarms, which you can set throughout the day as a friendly reminder that it is time to do something. Even less urgent tasks like taking out the trash are more likely to get done if you provide yourself with a tangible reminder. 

Putting Time Aside to Decompress

Most importantly, in the midst of all this productivity, don't forget to give yourself time to relax, decompress and pursue your own interests. Functioning as an adult is only worth the effort if you can still reward yourself with some free time, though you should probably hold off on firing up a video game or starting a new project until the most pressing chores are done. By learning to balance life with your hobbies, you can overcome executive functioning disorder and stop living from one emergency to the next. 

For more information, contact ABC Pediatric Therapy or a similar organization.